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Rescue plan for failing hospitals

Managers from top-performing NHS hospitals are to be sent into the failing ones placed in special measures to try to improve them.

Explaining the scheme, which includes bonus payments for Trusts if standards are raised at failing sites, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said there were a "handful of inspirational leaders" who were "anxious to help".

Each of the 11 Trusts which were put in special measures in July following a review into hospitals with high death rates will be twinned with more successful hospitals.
Hunt said that management consultants had been favoured in the past, but they had only identified problems - rather than solving them.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The problem is making actual changes on the ground. Attracting the right leaders would give these hospitals the best chance of real change."

He went on: "Generally, successful hospitals attract good people and we are looking to find a way to get these good people to other hospitals."

These managers' posts would be back-filled, he said, adding: "These people are anxious to help us turn around these failing hospitals, they want to play their part."

Although Hunt admitted that understaffing was one of the problems, he insisted: "It's not just that, it's about leadership, culture, training... To get that right you need to have the right people leading the hospital."